Alaskans who support a proposed constitutional amendment clarifying there is no right to abortion in the State Constitution outnumbered opponents during a March 16 public hearing.
The Senate Health and Social Services Committee meeting included 29 testimonies via telephone. Many others were waiting on the line as the hour and a half long hearing ended. Supporters of the measure outnumbered opponents 18 to 11, among those who testified.
Sponsored by Sen. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer), Senate Joint Resolution 4 is short and simple. It states: “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the State to fund an abortion.”
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If approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate, the proposed constitutional amendment would go before voters at the next general election, where a simple majority of voters could pass the amendment.
Sen. Hughes noted during the hearing that her legislation does not change abortion policy in Alaska. Rather, it clarifies that the Alaska Supreme Court can no longer interpret the State Constitution as justification for striking down pro-life laws passed by the Legislature.
The measure will be scheduled for another hearing next week, according to Hughes.